I feel that there is a movement among bloggers that suggests that one is never enough and that you should cast the net wide.
I never try to suggest that one way is right and another way is wrong but what I can say is that I’ve seen a few people get crushed by taking on more than they can cope with.
Sticking to one Blog in the beginning helps you keep focus
Perhaps of disappointment was my friend’s blog.
He had started out with a concept (and in retrospect he’d pitched it at a very narrow age group). He gave this blog a lot of love for several months and it outperformed my effort quite drastically.
He didn’t stop at one blog.
He went on to create another blog in a more general niche and in doing so had totally destroyed his ability to concentrate on the important part of updating. He’d been too proud to ask for help.
Before long I noticed both blogs falling into neglect.
After a point, one of the blogs stopped being listed and the other one began to gather dust.
Why is that bad?
This blogger had invested a lot. He’d bought an expensive theme (Genesis no less), gone to the trouble of hosting on HostGator, buying the domains and generally putting a lot of man hours into the project.
Were these projects actually failing?
No. They just hadn’t hit the prime time.
I’m not sure what the motivation behind stopping was but I sensed that a lot of this had to do with not having the time.
This individual was caught up in a failing business (more of the bricks and mortar kind) in the real world. This individual had also been part of a few other failed businesses and had become accustom to pushing the quit button too soon.
So what do I recommend?
Don’t overstretch your empire within the first 6 months. I’ve been blogging for over 12 months on a single blog and have only now been able to find time to write a guest post for another blog. You have to allow some “bedding in” time and it might be longer than you think.
Building capability and efficiency
In the early life of the blog, regardless of what niche or what purpose it serves, you will have to experiment to find the best ways to connect with your audience and find the best ways to provide value to them.
Building up capabilities is important. These are the services you provide, whether you are awesome at delivering tutorials, helpful articles or simply being an opinion that people look up to. Capabilities are the things you do well and you’ll need a few of these to be unique and stand out.
Efficiency develops over time. If you do the same task enough times, you become better at it and faster. In order to be ready for your next blog, you need to have built a suitable efficiency in your existing blog to be able to dual run (or more).
Starting up the first time can be difficult because you are a little pregnant of thought in how you go about things. Coming around to start again with something new gives you a false sense of security because you think you have learnt the lessons of what went wrong first time around and know how to start quicker. This doesn’t always pan out the way you might think.
Why is that security thought wrong?
Invariably you are going to start writing a new blog about something either mildly different in delivery or totally different to what you have blogged about before. You built up the knowledge about the subject you are writing about in the now, but not about the one you are about to be tackling. There is going to be a learning and experimentation period.
So whilst you might have been able to gain some technical knowledge that will help you with the administration of the site, and whilst you might have developed better ways of generating content ideas and conducting yourself socially, you might not be able to replicate a quicker path to success. You might be in this slow build up to being recognised again as someone who knows what they are talking about and passes out that value effectively.
This is why perhaps it is better to give a bit of time to settling in your prime haunt before you start your poltergeist antics elsewhere. Part of this is that you learn quite a lot from the observations of others and how they go about their business and you’ll be better placed to mimic similar kinds of successes.
For a short time I had interest in Asian ladies (specifically from the Far East) and there was this brilliant term that ladies from the Philippines phrased about men who jumped from one lady to another. They called them “butterflies” because they bounced from one flower to another.
This could also be true of bloggers. The danger here is of trying to simultaneously exist in too many places at once and essentially spread yourself too thin, or worse, abandon projects you were working on over periods of time to go and chase something else.
There are two trains of thought;
- The first train is that if something really isn’t working, you should move on.
- The second train of thought is that you could be claiming defeat too soon and that victory could be just around the corner if you keep trying hard enough.
Both of these trains have merits and demerits in equal measure.
The first train should be liberally applied if:
- You have really epic failed, it has gone stupendously badly, and it shows no sign of getting better.
- Where the experiment will potentially cost you a princely sum and therefore is not economic to pursue.
It should be avoided if:
- You see green shoots.
- You aren’t trying hard enough.
- You haven’t sought some help or opinion.
The second train should be boarded when:
- There is visible sign of activity and with some inspiration you can keep the cogs turning where the formula is easily repeatable.
- You have not got the time to chop and change (if you are doing the blog thing as a second income, part time hobby or occasional dalliance).
It should be avoided if:
- You’ve really tried everything.
- Nobody else has had any visible signs of success with this strategy.
- It’s just plain wrong and an overwhelming number of people are telling you so.
- You can’t drum up the enthusiasm any more.
- The topic is dead.
As you can see, there are swings and roundabouts to both trains.
Say that you are succeeding on the green shoots with blog 1…
Your blog is growing but you’ve had this 6 month itch to run something else. The question you should ask yourself is:
“Am I going to endanger my current prospect by spreading myself too thin?”
You’ll know this answer if you have one of the two following mindsets;
- I have plenty of flex to write more content. In fact, my current blog has a month of content pre-written and scheduled up.
- I am struggling to meet my commitment to my current audience and often feel guilt about not posting enough.
The importance of enough startup time
To get a good impact on your new blog it is important to start with a lot of valuable content because as I have discovered and as many new bloggers discover, starting in a vacuum and asking people to stop by can often be the “chicken and egg” situation.
As an example, it took a long time for me to engender comments from my community. They only started to appear after I had one particularly kind passer by make the effort and he informed that my captcha was not working properly which was putting people off. My comments also have come from the “reciprocity” angle, the fact that if I make an effort and contribute, that may be rewarded in kind. When you have enough in the way of social signals, passers-by are more inclined to feel safe. I wrote an particular article about the fear of going first because there is some psychology behind this.
In order to see green shoots you might need to wait a bit. Patience is a virtue.
You have to factor for lower returns initially because often the people you are pitching towards don’t know you are there. You are going to have to figure out ways to “tickle their fancy” proverbially speaking.
All that guano takes time and you are going to be doing that whilst running your other blog (or God forbid, blogs). Common sense dictates that either you’ve worked out enough efficiency to be able to cover all the bases or you’ve got somebody covering your back.
Covering your back
If you’ve committed to blog 2 or blog “N” and you don’t have the protective barrier in place to make sure your other blog doesn’t suffer whilst you are moonlighting, you need a little talk with some friends.
Before thinking about this, it is worth considering the return and the potential pitfalls involved with someone reaping the harvest for you.
Emphasis on content
Normally it is the content that needs the work. You need fillers to cover the gaps for a while so that you can bring up the efficiency on blog 2. You have some options here, some require more commitment than others, some cost more than others.
Buy some written posts
You can buy them cheap on Fiverr for $5. There are some inherent problems with this approach however in that there are some restrictions imposed by some of the sellers, the quality of the article could vary significantly and you might not be getting good value for money.
On top of this issue, you might try to go cheap, finding articles from writers from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. The problem here is that whilst the articles will return in English, not all of them will be legible English. You may need to hire someone to proof and expand these posts and even then, the idea might be a reject.
The commitment level of this approach is quite low but the administration is potentially quite high.
What this doesn’t include:
- Image creation
- Video creation
You may have to source these elements separately with similar administration requirements.
Hiring a content creator
You could go a bit more pro and hire a part time content creator to keep your posts endowed, they may supplement this creation by sub-contracting further writing or image help but as long as you pay them appropriately they’ll be able to do a better job than just some written posts.
They’ll need access to your blog and be allowed to have a nose about on what you’ve done before. You might have to explain the ropes so that they know how you like to present information and maintain a consistency that your audience prefer.
There are two distinct flavours of content creator:
- One where you allow them to take full attribution of all their content with author links.
- The creator is a ghost. In other words, they assume your blogging personality and write in your style and take no attribution.
Ghost writers cost more because they can’t add this work to their portfolio. They essentially hand over their intellectual property rights to you. They are useful where you don’t want to look like you were away. They can even respond to comments like you would, allowing no break in service.
Content creators have a moderate commitment but generate low administration burdens. I’d recommend you keep an eye on the quality just to be on the safe side. You don’t want somebody steering your ship into the rocks.
Courting with a site manager
To enact the full solution, hiring a website manager may be the way to go. Administration is ultra-low because this guy or gal will outsource numerous tasks and keep your ship running smoothly; they have done this before and know how to keep the site on the straight and narrow. They may even be able to make the site run more efficiently due to their background knowledge. Your commitment to allowing this individual to fully manage your site is high. You have to place a lot of trust in them, they will have access to all of your admin areas and have a possibility to scoop a lot of your privately acquired good ideas which they’ll most likely pass onto future clients or use in their own projects. They won’t come cheap either and expect them to be busy with other clients too!
But of course, all of the above is useless if your site doesn’t make money
That’s right folks. If you are not even turning a magic bean on what you are doing you shouldn’t consider paying to keep something running in your absence, especially if you have no sell.
All of the above scale up on expenditure and if you are not making anything to justify that holding pattern, why spend anything?! If you can find friends or well-wishers to do it for free, that’s a better way to go but you should plan your implementation with some serious thought before making a commitment.
I hope that from what I’ve presented above you will think carefully about the implementation of your next blog and will make sure not to spread yourself too thin.